We'll dive right in today. I'm not sure of the source here (Washington Examiner? That's a Trump rag, isn't it?) but in any case, there's an interesting statistical quirk that's being reported.
We've been reporting on this off and on for years; veterans transitioning back to civilian life, with varying degrees of success. I am proud to be a personal part of this, as last year Old Town Trolley forged a partnership with a veteran's home here in Boston that has yielded some fruit. We've got a number of drivers and sales reps that were formerly unemployed veterans. But nevertheless, it's still a tough transition, especially among combat troops.
War veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan struggle to find jobs despite nationwide unemployment reaching a 50-year low last month.
The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans rose from 3.9% to 4.5% over the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, making them the only group of veterans to see a rise in unemployment. Veteran unemployment as a whole dropped from 3.4% to 3.1% during the same time period.
"The biggest reason is that transition out of the military is included in the younger veteran unemployment numbers," Eli Williamson, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and co-founder of Leave No Veteran Behind, told the Washington Examiner.
"Transition is a very hard process that veterans infrequently get right on the first attempt," Williamson said. "More often, veterans turn over in that first job out of the military because it's not a good fit or not enough to support their family. There's a natural learning curve as service members transition and older veterans have more experience."
Lack of planning plays a large factor, said Joe Karle, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan.
"From what I've seen [from] guys that get out and are unemployed, it's usually because they don't have any plans," Karle told the Washington Examiner. "They take like a year off, kind of like some college kids do. That really sets them up for failure."
Younger veterans using GI Bill tuition assistance may also account for the unemployment statistics.
"Vets who are full-time students are classified as not in the labor force because they are not currently available for work," Williamson said.
Workforce participation among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans dropped from 81.4% to 80.3% in 2018, according to the labor bureau. The veteran workforce participation rate as a whole dropped from 49.6% to 49.2%.
The Department of Defense has attempted to improve the transition from military to civilian life with various assistance programs and counseling. Some major companies have formed programs to assist in veteran employment, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched its Hire Our Heroes initiative in 2011 to help connect veterans with job opportunities.
We'll re-visit the Nine-o-Nine crash briefly this morning. Of course there is going to be a knee-jerk reaction to ban all such heritage flights
, because it's the Federal Government. Statistically, riding in a vintage aircraft is still safer than crossing the street every day.
Federal investigators will take a hard look at the possibility of restricting or banning rides for the public aboard World War II-era aircraft following the fiery crash of a restored B-17 "Flying Fortress" bomber in Connecticut last week that killed seven and injured eight.
"That is something we will look at down the road," National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said when asked whether the owners of vintage aircraft should be permitted to keep taking paying customers up for brief flights at airshows and heritage events.
"We're still at the very early stages of this investigation and we'll have to determine that at the appropriate time," Homendy said at an Oct. 4 news conference at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, where the B-17 crashed last Wednesday in an emergency landing attempt.
The NTSB is expected to make a preliminary report on the crash later this month, but recommendations on what actions the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should take to ensure the safety of vintage aircraft flights will likely not be made for several months.
"Our mission is to determine what happened, why it happened and to prevent it from happening again," Homendy said. The B-17 that crashed was owned and operated by the Massachusetts-based Collings Foundation.
The record of previous fatal accidents involving heritage flights of World War II-era bombers will play a part in the current investigation, she said.
Since 1982, when the NTSB began tracking safety issues in the heritage flights, there have been a total of 21 accidents involving World War-II era bombers, resulting in 23 fatalities and one injury -- not counting the death toll last Tuesday, Homendy said.
You can be sure I'll remain in the forefront to keep 'em flying. Ask me about the flaming hoops the town of Stowe made the Collings Foundation jump through just to open a museum in town.
But - that's a story for another day. I've got limited time this morning, so that will do!